In the Universe the light is undoubtedly the greatest, the dominant, force; but in the Ritual we learn that the darkness has also its practical uses. Remember that it was the world's Architect who ordained both. He made the light but did not completely abolish the darkness. All He did was to order that the light should shine in the daytime and alternate with the period of darkness called " the night." The plants were to yield their bloom and their fruit in the light; but, on the  other hand, all the initial operations of nature were to be conducted behind the scenes, in the dark, so that the world would still be full of mysteries, and man would not be permitted to penetrate those mysteries without effort.
Freemasons have always used the Beehive as a symbol; and the industrious bees extracting sweetness from every flower in the field and storing it up in their "properly tiled " and darkened dwelling, present an excellent illustration of Masonic life.
The canopy which the Creator spread over this earth has the effect of limiting our view, but it does not blind us; for at night time it is studded with a multitude of twinkling lights, and the result is a sort of "darkness visible."
Moreover, if the glorious sun at noon-time unfolds a most charming spectacle to our gaze, the starry firmament at night is not less beautiful. The daylight makes the nearer things clear; but, then, the nocturnal gloom widens our view. This was once beautifully expressed by Blanco White in his sonnet to the night, which is one of the finest jewels of English literature. The physical sun shines on our surroundings, revealing the admirable form and hue of everything; but its very  splendor dazzles us and renders the more distant scene invisible, and we have to wait till it has gone down and got dusk - till the night has spread its pall over the world, - to catch sight of the numerous other worlds revolving in universal space; and thereby to realize that this globe of ours is but an infinitesimal fraction of the vast creation ! For, strange as it may sound, the sun hides far more than it reveals, whereas the night (which in some respects reduces the range of our vision) is also the means whereby the veil is lifted up from a magnificent panorama which remains hidden from our eyes during the day.
The darkness, therefore, although commonly
regarded as an emblem of man's ignorance, is an effective aid
to our science. The "ethereal mansion" of which the
Ritual speaks, is said to be "veiled by the starry firmament,"
and it is "veiled" indeed, but not completely hidden,
for the veil is a lighted screen through which we can peer into
that boundless Universe where we hope one day to find the unclouded
light of absolute truth. We described this "mansion"
as made of Ether, to convey the idea of something intangible,
but, of course, it is a paradox.
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